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jools green
Jools Green


Legendary Norwegian duo Darkthrone have been around pretty much since the dawn of Black Metal, originally as what could be loosely described as Dark Technical Death Metal, until the genre became too safe and the lure of the newly evolving blasphemous and dangerous Black Metal became much more appealing, but they have always been on the outskirts, preferring to do things their own minimalistic and definitely unorthodox way.

Fast forward almost thirty years and they are back with studio full length number seventeen, te follow up to 2013s hugely successful 'The Underground Resistance' and their latest offering, 'Arctic Thunder', promises to be "an eclectic mix of free-spirited 80s fuelled Blackened Heavy Metal, all executed in Darkthrone's trademark raw and organic style."

'Arctic Thunder' was recorded and produced by the band themselves, with the sessions conducted at Darkthrone’s old rehearsal unit, The Bomb Shelter, which they had originally used during 1988-1990.

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It’s an eight track offering with lyrical themes that cover hate, contempt, and the inner mind and soul, with one notable difference from recent offerings; on this album Nocturno Culto covers all the vocals, the idea being to create a more solemn/introvert atmosphere and he does so with a hypnotic, superbly expressive, rasping vocal delivery.

They also continue to do what they do best, demonstrate their riff mastery. The whole album is a sea of intense riffing, delivered in a broad ranging, varied manner in their signature style, tied together with Fenriz's powerful and precise drum work.

Fenriz describes the release as "more serious and primitive than usual", but this simplistic, primitive and raw quality is what makes it an utterly superb album.


The simplicity is its beauty. It's easy to overwork something, but that hasn't happened here. They have the confidence to allow the original, simple yet effective concept to dominate, while still maintaining a huge degree of variety across the tracks all with a retro edge that doesn't feel dated either.

Like all good albums it's practically impossible to pick favourite tracks as each is so individual and able to stand alone, bringing something different to the album, but if I had to choose, 'Throw Me Through The Marshes' really resonates as it's superbly dark and sinister with great drum flourishes that burst through the dirty riffs and rasping vocals, as does 'Deep Lake Trespass', so darkly melodic and hugely addictive.

The album title, 'Arctic Thunder', is homage to a favourite obscure band name from the 80s of Fenriz’s and the cover art is from the personal camping archives from a trip some years ago to Spålsberget in Nordmarka.

The mastering was once again handled by Jack Control at Enormous Door and 'Arctic Thunder' will be released on CD, Limited Edition orange vinyl LP (with MP3 download code), black vinyl LP (with MP3 download code) and digitally from Peaceville.

'Arctic Thunder' is quite simply a superb album.


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